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I hate this part of being a fur parent.  I really do.  Our beloved Sunshine who's 15 is giving us those horribly heart-breaking signs that "the time" may be coming near.

Sunshine is the sweetest mutt you'd ever want to meet.  Part Golden Retriever, part golden Labrador, part Border collie-she's had a heart of gold since the moment we saw her at a pet rescue show 14 years ago.

We had lost our beloved shepherd mix Lucky about 3 months prior to our "just going to look".  We had also lost our "first" fur kid Snowy-a regal white domestic cat who left us the year before.  

Steve and I told the kids that we were only looking-that's all.  There were a lot of dogs-including one that looked identical to our Lucky.  But there was a warning sign on the cage that said she had been rescued from the home of a mentally ill person and had been abused.

We still ran the day care in those days-so we knew that any dog we adopted would have to be more than special.  We looked over and all the kids were giving Sunshine treats through the holes in her cage. She was being so gentle in taking the small little bites from their hands.  She looked over at us and we couldn't help but sigh.

Her big brown eyes, her smile and her sweet, sweet face.  We asked to walk her.  The owner of the rescue came with us.  She told us they found her walking around Burbank Blvd with her collar.  They took her to the pound and a week later, no one had claimed her.  So they named her Sunshine and took her back to the rescue.

And her she was, walking with us, nuzzling our hands, kissing us and yes, talking away.  4 other families wanted her.  Easy to see why.  

Why were we the luckiest people on the planet?  We worked at home, I know our vet's phone number by heart and we promised that no matter what-she'd always have a home.  It was important that we'd be there for her in all those ways.
We were told that she could jump 5' fences and were we willing to build ours up?  No problem-it would be up before she arrived the next afternoon.

Yes, we were just looking, but like my husband and myself-it was love at first sight for all 5 of us.

When it came time for her to go back into the cage-we hugged her, kissed her and she returned the affection.  The next afternoon the rescue woman found the extended gates in place, we already had food, a water bowl and a new leash ready.  We had even made an appointment with the vet and contacted a trainer.  

Sunshine never tried to "jump" the gates.

And now, all these years later-our darling is having trouble walking, her eating patterns are no longer an assured thing, she's having "accidents" and is embarrassed by them.  It's a delight to see her play with Pepper and to run with the grand pups, but we see what's coming and it's a hurt like none other.

As I write this ode to our Beloved Sunshine, tears roll down my face.  It may not happen this week or even next month-but we know that the circle of her life is almost complete and there's no way for us to turn it back.

But we will enjoy every bit of what's left as long as we can.

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